Chart of the week: Share of jobs in D.C. with median annual wages > $150,000

June 24, 2022
  • Bailey McConnell
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Despite a 6 percent decline in employment between 2019 and 2021, total wages earned in the District of Columbia in that same time grew by 7 percent. And, average wages increased by 14 percent—faster than the inflation rate.

What is causing these trends? The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on service-based industries, while office-based industries have, in contrast, been able to easily adapt by shifting to remote work. As a result, many low-wage jobs are being replaced by high-wage jobs. Recent BLS data confirm this trend, showing the share of jobs in D.C. with a median annual wage greater than $150,000 has increased from 8.1 percent in 2019 to 17.1 percent in 2021.

Another explanation for this trend is that throughout 2021, there were historically high levels of job openings relative to total employment. As a result, the labor market favored job seekers, making it easier to negotiate higher salaries or other benefits, particularly as inflation was increasing.


Bailey McConnell

Former Research Director, Rivlin Initiative
D.C. Policy Center

Bailey McConnell is Research Director for the D.C. Policy Center’s Alice M. Rivlin Initiative for Economic Policy & Competitiveness. In this role, she assists with the management and implementation of the Policy Center’s economic and competitiveness research. Prior to joining the D.C. Policy Center, Bailey worked as a Research Analyst in the Washington, D.C. office of HR&A Advisors, a real estate consulting firm. She has also worked as an Legislative Intern with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and as an Economic Opportunity and Financial Inclusion Intern with the National League of Cities. 

Bailey is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Boston University. 

You can reach Bailey at